How to Draw a Bunny (USA; 90 min.)


directed by: John W. Walter
documentary
How to Draw a Bunny
 
Chris says: I'm not sure how subversive HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY actually was, either, but it did justice to its subject, collage artist Ray Johnson (who was inarguably subversive). This is the usual collection of talking head interviews interspersed with rare archival footage, but Johnson was such a fascinating enigma that you'd have to try really hard to make a fully conventional film about him. What I really admired about this documentary is that it didn't come out and 'explain' Johnson's art to you from the get-go. It's more like an excavation or putting together puzzle pieces. Not everything fits, but at the end, you get a keen sense of all the endless echoes and associations. I'm still unsure of what Johnson was getting at when, for an audience at an exhibition, he lashed away at a cardboard box with a leather belt for twenty odd minutes. However, many of his endeavors (particularly his final, brilliantly conceived and executed 'work of art') often drove me to re-evaluate existing conceptions of how art and life are related and interchangeable long after the film was over. I wish more art (and film) did that. 4 cats
 
Peg says: "I want to recommend you all try to check out two documentary films showing at the MFA this month: HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY is an absorbing look at the mysterious death, and fascinating life, of Ray Johnson, a reclusive but prolific artist who was part of the intimate circle of New York artists at the heart of the Abstract Expressionist and Pop Art movements. Beginning with reports of his suicide and unraveling what motivated him to undertake what many have called his final piece of performance art, this film's cinematography and use of archival imagery offers an insightful and often affectionate look at a man whose art was by turns funny, banal, inscrutable and, for the art community, highly influential. 4 cats"
 
Michael says: "This interesting documentary details the life of artist Ray Johnson, a contemporary of Andy Warhol who killed himself in the mid-90’s. First-time director John Walter does a pretty solid job in fashioning an intriguing and watchable film. Johnson work with collage, and HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY is actually a collage of Johnson’s life, with various gallery owners, collectors, fellow artists, postal workers, police officers and friends offering their different impressions about him. Johnson was also a performance artist, and several videos are used in the film. The film leads to ask the question, was his apparent suicide actually his final performance? The ultimate work of art? While HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY is a well-made film, with a combination of video footage, interviews, artwork and other visuals, I found many of the interviewees to be fairly annoying, and Johnson’s performance art even more so. I guess I have little patience for artistic pretentions. There is also a recurring snare drum riff that rapidly grew on my nerves. Still it held my attention and presented some interesting thoughts. 3 cats"